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Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario and Saskatchewan. And–gasp!–sometimes I actually write about stuff other than sex. I know lately I’ve been preoccupied with The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, but here’s this week’s column for something different:

I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon last weekend watching YouTube videos.

Big mistake. I have now lost almost all faith in humanity.

It started when my daughters told me to watch “Honey Boo Boo Child”, a clip from the Toddlers and Tiaras show (which, to this point in my life, I have successfully avoided). Now Honey Boo Boo Child is a 6-year-old girl made up to look like a tramp. And that’s a polite word for it. Watching the clip felt like watching a train wreck. It’s so horrible you want to turn away, but you just can’t. And now I can’t get those creepy Jonbenet Ramsay pictures out of my head. I thought I had finally banished them.

From there I followed a link to a Judge Judy video, another show I have, until this point in my life, managed to avoid. On this particular episode, a 21-year-old male was being sued by his 30-year-old ex-girlfriend for rent money. It turns out they had lived together, but they had a prior agreement that he could get out of paying rent because his presence provided benefit enough. At some point she obviously changed her mind.

In the course of Judge Judy’s questioning it came out that this man had been paid $70,000 by the government to pursue a music degree, and given a stipend of $450 a month for rent. Judge Judy wanted to know why he hadn’t spend that $450 on rent. He replied that the government “was just paying me for being me!”

Judge Judy then declared, “I’m sending this tape to Congress.” Maybe she should just run for Congress and stop the insanity.

Insanity is all I see in the news right now. Iran is about to develop a nuclear weapon. Gas prices are about to go through the roof. Twenty percent of Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. And what do politicians want to talk about? Birth control. Democrats claim that Republicans want to outlaw birth control simply because they don’t want to force Catholic and other faith-based entities to pay for it. With Obama losing traction in his re-election campaign, they thought creating an issue to win women’s votes was a necessity. Because we all know women care way more about contraception than unemployment, right? Sheesh.

When I used to take my children to the portrait studio to get that family photo taken, the kids would be miserable. They didn’t like sitting still. So the photographer would wave this teddy bear in the air, trying to distract them from their misery and coerce a smile.

Maybe that’s what happening on a larger scale. We’re trying to ignore the real problems that are facing our world. We watch utterly bizarre shows on television because it distracts us from reality. We feel entitled to free money and free IUDs and free rent and free anything because it’s other people paying, and we want the free ride as long as we can get it.

And we let politicians on both sides of our border wave some stupid issue and demonize the other side, thinking it will win votes, instead of talking about the things that actually affect us, like the economy, or gas prices, or public safety.

This world is falling apart, and too many people don’t care. And that’s depressing to think about. So next time my kids tell me to watch some YouTube video, I’m going to stick to giggling babies. At least they have the capacity to restore my faith in the future.

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